It was even worse than expected. Talk about a stacked deck, kangaroo court, a snowjob, a railroad job, and all of the other trite, hackneyed expressions to describe a steamroller.
If Canadians wanted to see the reasons why Mikey Harris and his Tories were finally turfed by the good burghers of Ontario, they need look no further than the first hour of deliberations of the Tory-Chaired House Finance Committee looking into the issue of Income Trusts. As scheduled, the first witness was the Finance Minister James Flaherty, looking for all the world like James Cagney as a Prosecuting Attorney in a second rate Warner Brothers flick out of the nineteen thirties (Cagney usually played the hood. In this case, the hood was playing the Prosecutor).
Jimmy took up the first 40 minutes of the first hour, explaining the reasons why Income Trusts should be gassed. He had facts and figures, and his coterie of Finance Department nerds looking on approvingly. He went on and on.
When Grit John McCallum, an economist and banker by profession, finally muscled his way in with the simple question as to whether Flaherty's department had prior reports of the damage to be inflicted on the net worth statements of ordinary Canadians, Jimmy, with gargantuan arrogance and condescension, not seen since the dying days of Ralph Klein's or Mikey Harris's politcal careers, ducked, stonewalled, delayed, objected, avoided, evaded, and eluded the simple question for at least another 10 minutes. That's 50 minutes. For the balance of the first hour, tough guy Flaherty toyed with a question from a Bloq Member and then turned it over to one of his numbers geeks for an explanation of his department's calculations.
So what was set aside for 10 witnesses including 5 from the affected industry or members of the public, Flaherty and his boy from Finance were the only guys who made the Agenda.
In addition, it was announced to those aggrieved today that the time of the Hearings had been further cut. It has now gone from 10 hours, to 6, and as of today, down to 4. There will be two hours of hearings on Thursday. And then, kaput.
The hearings provided little solace and comfort for the industry or investors who have lost their shirt on Harper's Flip-Flop. The fat lady is waiting in the wings. However, Stephane Dion and the Grits should have more than a measure of comfort. There is no way that the Canadian people are going to want these arrogant twaddles in power.
One is reminded of Joe Clark's ill-fated decision to govern as if he had a majority in the Commons, even though he only had a minority. He did, and his Government met its end. Today the new Tories (RATs as previously explained) did the same. They will meet the same fate.